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AllSPICE 2015
AllSPICE 2016: Caribbean American Festival of the Arts and Humanities

Since 2004, each June the Institute of Caribbean Studies brings the nation's capital a Taste of the Caribbean through the literature, music and other arts.  This year, AllSPICE  will provide another delightful sampling of the gourmet delights from the arts and humanities. Feast on a veritable cook-up of written word, spoken word, dance and drama.  

In 2010, we took a leap of faith and expanded our Literary Festival to include music and dance as we reimagined a much grander Festival of the Arts and Humanities. Because the Festival contains so many elements of our culture we call it ALLSPICE -- All Spectacular, Positive, Irie, Caribean Edutainment., or AllSPICE for short. 

This year, we will produce a banquet of activities from literature to music to art, all signifying the crossings of Caribbean identity in America. 

From dance, to literature, to music to orature, the canon has demonstrated that there are many voices who signify our experiences --- from Paule Marshall, through Michael Thelwell, through Aime Cesaire, Derek Walcott, Lorna Goodison, Rosa Guy to Malcolm Gladwell and Colin Channer. These travellers are among the many who cultiavte the ingreadients of the American melting pot. They cook up life with creativity.  Lorna Goodison says "from root to leaf tip my every part has been employed to meet human need." 

In bringing the Caribbean Arts and Humanities to Washington DC, we aim to create a stew -- a callalloo of sound and sight --  that will awaken the sense of the heart and serve up the SPICE of life. Through literature of the written word, the spoken word, of story and of song and dance, we will observe our impact on the weft and warp of the American fabric and indeed we shall be enlivened by the SPICE of Life!

Book Reading at Pórtico

Mosaic: A collection of Caribbean short stories by Barbara Paul-Emile. To be published in May 2015 by Eunoia Publishing.

This collection by Jamaican-born writer, Barbara Paul-Emile, presents stories that focus on the vicissitudes of daily life as experienced by people in small towns and rural districts in the Caribbean islands. These tales deal with personal dilemmas, psychic crossroads, and social issues as shaped by the legacy of slavery, colonialism and national sovereignty, the complex heritage of the region. Set in the lush landscape of the tropical islands, individuals struggle to find personal fulfillment, advancement and validation in relationships and in society. Mosaic captures the important subtleties and nuances involved in island-living and presents the varied faces of the islands in vibrant and compelling portraits which allow readers to engage with characters whose voices mesmerize as they share details of the dramas that punctuate their lives. Written in clear, fluid prose that mirrors a painter's brush, Mosaic presents a canvas of images and characters so colorful, so vivid and so evocative that it is undoubtedly a masterwork.

Somerset Grove

Somerset Grove by Dionne Peart. Published by Calrendon Books, December 2012.

Three generations of the women in the Wright family all dream of leaving their home in a small Jamaican town, but each woman encounters obstacles and matters of the heart that keep her from living the life she wants. In varying ways, Somerset Grove explores inter-generational dissonance and its ability to overwhelm the individual will.

Beginning in the winter of 1967, Somerset Grove by Dionne Peart is the story of Angelique, Ruby and Carmen. Traveling between the tropical heat of Jamaica and the cold promise of Canada Somerset Groove is an emotional and honest look at falling in love at a young age and how it
can shape the narrative of an entire family history. Ruby, Angelique and Carmen - three generations of the Wright family play their roles with ease and assurance - all locked stepped in a psychological maze that deftly conceals personal angst and self-loathing.

Angelique, strong willed and adventurous, chooses between her daughter and opportunity as she contemplates leaving Carmen behind to move to Canada to pursue a career and bigger life. After experiencing heartbreak, proud matriarch Ruby is determined to see that no one ever
has a reason to look down on her or her family, even if it means alienating the ones she loves. A young Carmen is torn between feelings of resentment and longing, as she strives to be independent while trying to build a relationship with her distant mother.  At the right junctures, key questions are raised. Will Angelique's love interest leave upon hearing that she is married? Will Carmen finally see her father, Clifton, as she waits and waits for his return? What secret is hidden inside the mansion that houses the influential Chambers family?

The lives of Ruby, Angelique and Carmen mirror each other. They are intertwined leaving little air for personal growth. Peart's characters crave validation through the chimera of fancy houses, furniture, homes and social etiquette. Told with alternating points-of-view Somerset Grove shows how the Wright women solider on from generation-to-generation in an effort to move beyond wounds that never had a chance to heal.

Fatidic by Dutty Bookman. Published by Bookman Express, LLC February 2015.

As the "Reggae Revival" movement spreads worldwide, social activists across the planet are becoming more aware of the intellectual contributions made by Rastafari thinker and writer, Dutty Bookman. Through his blog,, he had long inspired the name of this arts and culture-based movement more than a year before mainstream media even detected what was happening.

Fatidic: Selected Duttyisms is Bookman's newest book, a collection of some of his earliest blog posts, originally penned during a time when the Jamaican revolutionary was still trying to locate his literary voice. Fatidic, pronounced FAY-ti-dik and defined in the dictionary as "prophetic," is published at the perfect time. Within its pages is the original piece titled 'Jamaican Revival,' a testament to Bookman's own prophetic role in describing and popularizing the then underground phenomenon that was stirring up in his hometown, Kingston.

Fatidic is overall an eye-opening, 150-page concoction in which a searching mind is canonized for its investigations of 21st century living conditions. Through his perspectives on contemporary Black struggle, Dutty explores the gray area between being pan-Africanist and simultaneously humanist. Elsewhere, his writings focus on matters spiritual and even esoteric. Fittingly illustrated in the book's cover (designed by leading Jamaican muralist, Matthew McCarthy), Fatidic represents a seed planted with patience and grown organically from within Dutty’s fertile mind, adding value to our understanding of contemporary human experience on Earth.

Olympic Hero by Joanne Kilgour. Published by Caribbean Studies Press, January 2014.

The legend of an athlete with humble origins and vast ambitions leaps colourfully to life in this touching tribute to the sporting accomplishments of Olympic bronze medal-winning weightlifter Lennox Kilgour. Detailing the plucky eleven-year-old’s first interactions with barbell lifting in neighbourhood gyms, the author swiftly transports the reader into Kilgour's adult streak of medal victories, earned at regional and international sporting events. This children’s book successfully highlights, both in buoyant text and accompanying illustrations (by Dillon Sedar), the travails and persistent dedications that mark an athlete’s life, showing with emphatic poetic resonances how much it takes to create history in new and challenging arenas.

I-Lan' In Di Sun by Nana Farika Fayola Berhane. Published by Queen Omega Communications , November 2014.

I-Lan’ in di Sun is a collection of poetry featuring life in Jamaica and its Diaspora from a Rastafari woman’s perspective. It is an invocation of memory; childhood memories, memories of young love, marriage, history, revolutions and of a beloved country left behind for a new life in the United States. Inspired by Louise Bennett, Nana Farika writes in the language she remembers hearing while growing up. The book opens with poems in honor of the legendary Maroons. The Nanni poems in honor of the legacy of National Hero Nanny (Nanni) of the Maroons set the tone and timbre of the collection that traces a rites of passage trajectory of Nana Berhane’s life from birth to puberty, to adulthood and marriage, all of which culminate in a deep commitment to Pan-African liberation and the spiritual culture of Rastafari. Thus, her love for her people is global and unconditional; it resonates in the nommo and the rhythm of lyrics that make you want to dance. Her tepid language and use of Jamaican dialect and modes of expression gives a musicality to her poems as subtle as a tropical breeze, though there is little subtlety in the message of the music that comes across with the clarity of thunder. Nana Farika restores the unity of poetry and music with a prosody that promises only the unpredictable, soft and salient, traditional yet modern and always in the moment.

 Please register here to attend the book reading 
Please register for the reading at Pórtico Bookstore. Space is limited: 1350 New York Ave NW Washington, D.C. 20005 at 5:30pm on June 10, 2015.
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EVENTS 2020 

This is a calendar of ONLINE STREAMED events  unless otherwise specified:

JUNE 1       
Official Opening  
Sisters in Arms Empowerment Movement Conference

Voice & Verse (Coral Springs)         

JUNE 3-7     
Caribbean American Legislative Week begins (Census 2020: OnlineConference Call) 

JUNE  5-6     
Caribbean American Legislative Forum/Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

JUNE 6-11  
Caribbean Reel - 19th Annual DC Caribbean Film Festival

JUNE  7   
Ignite Caribbean: 30 Under 30 Emerging Leaders Awards  & Forum 

JUNE  8      
World Oceans Day. Become a Caribbean SEA FAN and Celebrate World Oceans Day!

Salute to Hollywood & Excellence (Los Angeles)

JUNE 18     
Census 2020 Summit 

How Are You Caribbean? Take our Poll
 By Birth
 By Mother
 By Father
 By Both Parents
 By GrandMother
 By GrandFather
 By GrandParents
 By Marriage
 By Adoption

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